We only made a quick stop off through Florence, but our time here was so jam-packed that we thought that we would write a blog about it anyway!! Not usually one for the city life, we surprisingly very-much enjoyed Florence and want to share a few must-see, eat, and do recommendations with you!
Where to stay: (or not to stay!)
We stayed at a camping hostel called Camping Michelangelo, and we would NOT recommend it! They advised us we would be staying in seperate tents, regardless of us making the booking in the same, our tents were dirty, damp, and leaked throughout a rainy day leaving all of our belongings and bags inside completely drenched, the staff were unfriendly and not at all helpful, the location wasn’t fabulous, and their bathroom facilities were completely filthy (as was the rest of the property). Despite our terrible choice in accomodation, we still had an incredible time in Florence, and it just encouraged us to spend more time exploring this gorgeous city, rather than spending it at our hostel!
We would recommend finding accommodation close to the city centre as there is lots of walking to do around Florence - perhaps hostel world, air bnb, or booking.com would be helpful for this!
Eating out in Florence:
As our accommodation did not have any kitchen or fridge facilities, we ate our meals out in Florence (which is rare for us as budget travellers!), but luckily we were able to find some pretty reasonable priced high quality food options!
Shake Cafe: this little gem of a place doesn’t sell your traditional Italian breakfast foods, but what it does provide is fresh, healthy, and delicious breakfast smoothie bowls, juices, salads, and wraps! We enjoyed breakfast acai smoothie bowls filled with lots of good stuff such as chia seeds, goji berries, coconut, almonds, fruit, and muesli - make sure you ask for all of the toppings! Their smoothie bowls are 6.50 euro each, but we promise you that they will keep you feeling full and fuelled for a long time, as well as being ultra delicious! There are actually two Shake Cafe locations, one within the streets of the main area in Florence, and one nearby the central train station.
Mercado Centrale: recommended to us by other travellers, this incredible two-story food haven had us drooling from the moment we walked in the doors! The bottom level consists of mainly fresh produce, fruit and vegetables, cheeses, meats, breads, foccacias, juices, and pastries, with limited spots to sit and eat, most of these are take-away choices. The bottom level is open from early morning until around 2pm.
The upper level however is a massive food court, with an array of different food choices, and lots of tables and chairs for people to sit at. The choices here were endless - burgers, italian inspired asian food including dumping, vegetarian bars, arancini, pizza’s, antipasto platters, all ranging from around 5 - 10 euro for a meal. There are even a few wine and beer bar’s! This spot is a must visit while in Florence, we promise it won’t disappoint :)
Tamero: We enjoyed dinner with some friends that we had made at our last stop in Cinque Terre at Tamero, and came here specifically for their Apertivo buffet that they provide each night from 6.30 - 8.30pm. You pay only 10 euro which includes a drink of your choice (including cocktails!), and you are then able to make the most of the food options in the buffet for up to two hours! The food was all so tasty, including numerous pasta’s, rice-dishes, quinoa, fried vegetables, eggplant lasagne, vegetable frittata’s, focaccia’s, bread, and so much more! We definitely ate our money’s worth of food here for dinner, and if we had been in Florence for another night we certainly would have gone back! With both inside and outside dining area’s, the place also had a really nice atmosphere and friendly staff which is always nice!
What to see & do:
Other than eating our way through the city, we did also soak up the incredible architecture that this city has to offer, our favourite being the Duomo - Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. Unfortunately we only had the time and opportunity to enjoy it from the outside, however we would strongly recommend organising your ticket to visit inside and climb up to the top in advance! From what we were told, entrance is free to get inside, however if you do wish to climb to the top there is a small fee.
Statue of David - another highlight that draws many to Florence!
View from Piazza Michelangelo - only a 20 minute walk from the centre of Florence, you can reach Piazza Michelangelo - but we do warn you, this is quite an uphill walk towards the end, climbing hundreds of stairs! But once you get to the top, we promise you the views are worth it! We were lucky enough to spend a sunset up here, watching as the sky turned gorgeous colours of pink and orange, with views of gorgeous Florence and the Duomo below. Such a beautiful spot and a must-see!
With many different fashion stores lining the streets of Florence, if you have come here with a few extra pennies and some space in your suitcase, you will not be disappointed! Florence seemed to be rather popular however for their leather goods - bags, shoes, jackets, belts, you have so many options and varieties to choose from, and the market stalls are endless!
In just over 24 hours, we got to see and do so much in this city, we probably could have stayed an extra day to really soak it all up! Enjoy lovelies x